Polk County's Tana Harris focuses on a return during Thursday's match.

Polk County’s girls tennis team looked at Thursday’s match against Avery as an opportunity to measure how well it stacks up against some of the better teams in the Western Highlands Conference.

The Wolverines very much liked what they saw.

Polk County opened conference play with an emphatic statement, handing Avery a 7-2 loss in action at Polk.

One of the league’s better programs in recent seasons and with six seniors on the roster this year, Avery is expected to be in the thick of the WHC conference title chase.

But Polk County (6-1) won four of the day’s six singles matches, then swept the three doubles matches to show that it, too, is ready to join the conference fight.

“I think this is the first time in three or four years that we’ve beaten Avery,” said Polk County head coach Richard Davis. “They’ve got a strong group of seniors who came in as freshmen and have gotten better and better each year. The last two years, they’ve finished behind Hendersonville and I think that’s the only team to beat them in the conference.”

Three of the Wolverines’ wins on Thursday came in matches that nearly went in the Vikings’ favor. Polk’s No. 1 player, Hannah Jenne, earned a 10-1 win, but Tana Harris at No. 2 (10-8), Bella Marino at No. 5 (11-9) and Trinity Branham at No. 6 (10-7) each delivered at clutch times late in their matches to turn the overall score in Polk’s favor.

“If we lose those three, then we’re in the position that Avery’s in,” Davis said. “I’m pleased that all three doubles teams came through and won despite Avery basically having their whole team back from last year.

“It’s great for us to start off beating them. It’s a good start for us. We just have to keep plugging away.”

Polk County travels Tuesday to Mountain Heritage for another conference match.